Mrs Greenspan's Go-To Beef Daube
From around my french table.
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1 inch wide pieces
1 3 1/2 pound beef chuck roast, fat and sinews removed, cut into 2-3 inch cubes
2 Tb mild oil
2 yellow onions or 1 spanish onion, quartered and thinly sliced
6 shallots, thinly sliced
1 garlic head, halved horizontally, only loose papery peel removed
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and halved/quartered lengthwise depending on thickness
1/2 pound parsnips, peeled, halved crosswise and quartered lengthwise
1/4 C Cognac or other brandy
1 750ml bottle fruity red wine (Central Coast Syrah is great.)
1 bouquet garni (2 thyme sprigs, 1 rosemary sprig, leaves from a celery stalk, tied together in a dampened piece of cheesecloth
Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350.
Dutch oven over med heat and toss in bacon. Cook until brown and transfer to a bowl.
Dry beef between paper towels. Add 1 Tb of oil to bacon fat and warm over medium-high. Brown the beef in batches on all sides. Don't crowd the pot, you want each piece to have good color. Transfer meat to the bowl with the bacon and season with salt/pepper.
Drain oil from the pot, but don't remove any stuck bits. Add remaining Tb of oil and warm again. Add onions and shallots, salt/pepper, and cook, stirring, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, carrots, and parsnips and give a few good turns to cover all with oil.
Pour in brandy and turn up the heat, stirring up whatever is at the bottom of the pot. Let the brandy boil for a minute, then return the beef and bacon to the pot, pour in wine, and toss in the bouquet garni. One more good stir.
When the wine comes to a boil cover tightly with foil and the lid. Slide the daube into the oven and allow to braise undisturbed for 1 hour.
Remove pot from oven, remove lid and foil, and stir everything up once. Add enough water to cover ingredients if needed (unlikely). Recover and cook another 1 1/2 hours. Add another 30 minutes if the meat isn't fork-tender.
Skim off surface fat and serve with sauce spooned over.